The data is in, and it’s no surprise: more and more of our winter holiday shopping is now done on smartphones. Research from Adobe found that smartphone-led mobile devices make up 54% of web visits and 37% of online sales on Black Friday 2017. Adobe also found that through 10 p.m. on Cyber Monday 2017, smartphones accounted for 40% of website visits, a 22% increase from last year, and revenue driven by smartphones grew 39%, hitting a record of $1.6 billion in sales.
What starts online, however, doesn’t always stay online, and businesses and agencies should take notice. When consumers take to their smartphones en masse to research purchases, book appointments, and buy goods and services — such as on Cyber Monday — businesses experience a corresponding and dramatic increase in inbound phone calls.
That’s what DT University discovered when we compared call volumes from the DialogTech voice management platform for Cyber Monday 2017 to the rest of the year — over 50 million calls in over 40 industries, including retail, automotive, home services and maintenance, childhood education, construction, finance, and healthcare. Cyber Monday 2017 inbound call volumes were 58% higher than the average daily call volumes the rest of the year. That’s a significant increase in consumer calls.
As businesses invest in their mobile experience to win more business on these mobile-heavy shopping days, don’t ignore the phone call experience. A single negative caller experience can cost you that customer, and not answering your phones, forcing callers to wait on hold for too long, or connecting them to agents who don’t know why they are calling or can’t help them can be revenue-killers.
Black Friday Callers Are Negative, Cyber Monday Callers Are Positive
We were also curious if customers are grumpier because of holiday stress, and how that can impact a business’s bottom line. DT University analyzed over 630,000 consumer phone calls made during the 2017 and 2016 winter holiday season and used our proprietary conversation analytics machine-learning algorithms to detect the sentiment of these callers (expressions of positivity, appreciation, satisfaction, and praise, offset by expressions of frustration, confusion, anger, and concern).
We found that callers on Black Fridays (2017 and 2016) are nearly 20% more negative than they are the rest of the year. Conversely, callers on Cyber Mondays (2017 and 2016) are nearly 20% more positive than they are the rest of the year and 37% more positive than callers on Black Friday.
This analysis of caller sentiment suggests the stress of in-person shopping on Black Friday (perhaps made a little bit worse by the stress some of us feel when traveling and dealing with family during Thanksgiving) makes it one of the more negative shopping days for consumers. Compare that to shopping on Cyber Monday, which is often done online and at work (or at our own homes minus the rest of the family) — after the traveling and stress of Thanksgiving is behind us — and it makes sense that callers on this day are more stress-free.
And because of the high call volumes, Cyber Monday is one of the best days of the year for happy consumer calls. It’s a great day for businesses to cash in, if they can provide the right caller experiences to win the sale.
It’s No Surprise, but Holiday Shoppers Really Do Care About Price
We further examined calls from the 2016 and 2017 winter holiday shopping season (Black Friday to New Year’s Day) and found that consumers are significantly more price-conscious during the winter holiday season.
By using machine-learning algorithms to identify patterns in consumer phone conversations with businesses where callers expressed concern about costs, expenses, and their budget, we found that winter holiday shoppers are 22% more price-sensitive than other times of the year.
Recommendations to Increase Holiday Sales
DT University makes the following recommendations for businesses and their agency partners to take advantage of these trends:
1. Focus Your Holiday Marketing Campaigns on Savings
It may sound like a no-brainer, but if consumers are price-sensitive when holiday shopping, be sure to show them how much they can save if they purchase from you. Focus your paid search ads, Facebook and display campaigns, web content, and offline marketing on price savings.
2. Make It Easy for Shoppers to Call
Add phone numbers or call now buttons to your search ads, emails, offline campaigns, web pages, and mobile apps. Making it easy for consumers to call you is both a fundamental step in increasing marketing ROI during the holidays and an important part of acquiring and retaining customers who want to talk to you before making buying decisions.
3. Measure and Analyze Calls from Your Marketing and Website
It’s critical to capture the same granular data for call conversions that you do for online conversions. This call data is necessary to measure the true CPL, CPA, and ROI of your media spend, prove marketing’s full impact on revenue, and optimize performance to generate more customers while lowering acquisition costs. This analytics data includes:
- Call Attribution: Capture the marketing channel, ad, keyword search, and other marketing interaction that drove each call. Accurately measure ROI by attributing how your marketing programs drive calls.
- Website Interaction: See each visitor’s site activity before, during, and after the call, including the page they called from. Optimize website experiences to drive more call conversions.
- Caller Profile Data: Capture who the caller is, their phone number and geographic location, the day and time of the call, their device and browser, and more. Use that data to improve ad targeting.
- The Conversation: Capture if the call was answered and what was said, then analyze conversation quality and caller sentiment for actionable marketing insights.
- Sales Outcome: Know which calls from each source are legitimate sales leads and which convert to opportunities and revenue. Optimize marketing ROI by driving more calls that lead to revenue.
4. Make the Call Experience an Important Part of Your Mobile Strategy
Businesses’ investment in their mobile shopping experiences are driving sales growth during the holidays. However, as research and shopping behavior shifts to smartphones, it’s crucial that businesses recognize that a growing number of consumers will engage by calling and make a similar investment in improving the customer experience when shoppers call. This can include:
- Route Callers to the Best Agent to Convert Them: When shoppers call, it’s important to connect them quickly with the agent with the right skillset to convert them to an appointment, sales opportunity, or customer. Many businesses now use intelligence on each call – including who the caller is and why they are calling – as signals to determine in real time how best to route the caller.
- Arm Sales Agents with Insights on Each Caller: Getting shoppers to call is the first step — knowing what to say is the second. Businesses today are passing insights on each caller to sales agents before they answer the call — including who the caller is, where they are calling from, and the specific marketing interaction that drove the call — to help agents have more seamless, personalized conversations to win the sale.
- Prioritize the Most Valuable Callers: Businesses can place callers from the marketing channels, ad campaigns, search keywords, or webpages with the highest purchasing intent into priority queues to get answered immediately.
To learn more marketing and sales strategies to convert more callers to customers, please download The Marketer’s Big Book of Call Tracking Success Stories.
Discover how marketers from 25 industries use call tracking to generate better converting calls, personalize caller experiences, and drive growth.Get The Ebook →
Discover how marketers from 25 industries use call tracking to generate better converting calls, personalize caller experiences, and drive growth.Get The Ebook